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Government Leaders Should Not Attend Summer Olympics in Beijing Due to China's Record of Violations in Tibet and Its Support of Sudan's Genocidal Regime

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today condemned the ongoing suppression of Tibetan protests by Chinese personnel, which reportedly has resulted in civilian deaths and other gross human rights violations. Additionally, PHR urged President Bush, senior US officials and leaders of other governments not to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing because of China's recent behavior in Tibet and its role in continuing to arm and fund the Sudanese Government's genocide in Darfur.

"China must immediately stop its brutal attacks on those civilians engaging in peaceful protest in Tibet," stated Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer of PHR. "While some looting and illegal activity has occurred, China's response has so far been unjustified and disproportionate. It is imperative that China respect the basic human rights of all Tibetans to publicly express their opinion and peacefully congregate."

PHR is currently working with allies in Congress to introduce a resolution calling on President Bush and other members of his administration to not attend the Beijing Olympic Games in August. While the resolution is being developed primarily in response to China's financial involvement in Sudan's ongoing campaign of rape, displacement and murder in Darfur, the recent events in Tibet only underscore the need for US officials to publicly demonstrate their opposition to egregious violations of human rights.

"President Bush and leaders of other governments shouldn't reward the Chinese Government with their presence in Beijing while civilians are being indiscriminately killed and terrorized on the streets of Lhasa and in villages in Darfur," stated Donaghue. "The bare minimum response from the international community to these clear violations of international human rights standards should be for senior government officials not to attend the Beijing Games." PHR does not support a boycott of the Beijing Games by athletes and believes that they have a right to compete.

PHR has worked to defend the rights of Tibetans in the past, most notably publishing in 1997 the report, Striking Hard: Torture in Tibet, which documented the routine use of torture as a means of political repression, punishment and intimidation by Chinese authorities. More recently, the PHR Asylum Network has provided nearly a dozen nuns and monks from Tibet with pro bono medical and psychological evaluations to support their efforts to seek asylum in the United States. Several of these cases are still pending, but many have been granted asylum on the grounds of religious persecution following evaluation by members of PHR's Asylum Network, who volunteer their professional time and expertise to evaluate asylum seekers.

Last month PHR called on President Bush not to attend the summer games in Beijing due to China's abysmal record in supporting the genocidal regime of Omar el Bashir in Sudan. PHR's 2006 report, Assault on Survival, documented in detail the destruction of lives and livelihoods in Darfur, and assessed the attacks on hundreds of villages and their inhabitants as genocide.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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Kevin Short

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